"It seems like a group of young men involved in crime are now using firearms to settle disputes."
Salford has been revealed to be the top hotspot for gun crimes in Manchester. Almost 40 per cent of the city’s shooting incidents have been recorded in the area between 2011 and 2014.
In a set of exclusive figures published by Manchester Evening News, 35 out of 91 incidents related to firearm took place in Salford during the four-year period.
Included in all of the reported incidents are a range of accidental shootings as well as cold-blooded attempted murders.
In February 2012, two men aged 18 and 26 suffered gunshot wounds to their limbs. They were shot at point blank range on Fairhope Avenue.
Then in May 2014, two masked men shot a 49-year-old man seven times in his torso at the Ashley Brook pub on Liverpool Street.
‘Warning’ shots are often heard at houses and vehicles in Salford, although no injuries have been reported to the police.
Overall shooting incidents in Greater Manchester has shown a slight increase from 21 in 2013 to 24 in 2014. The figure was once as high as 150 in 2007, but has significantly reduced since then.
However, Manchester still sits within the top five regions for gun crimes in the UK. The worst area is West Midlands, followed by London, Merseyside, Manchester and South Yorkshire.
John Warmisham, councillor for Salford City Council, expressed his surprise at the findings.
He said: “It’s shocking and very saddening. Over the years, a lot of work has gone on in that community. But now it seems like a group of young men involved in crime are now using firearms to settle disputes – rather than the old way, which was a bit of a punch-up.”
Superintendent Mark Kenny of Salford gave details on the police operation aimed at cracking down on such violent crimes.
He explained: “Thanks to the excellent work done with Salford council and other partner agencies as part of Operation Gulf, we have managed to dismantle a significant number of organised crime group networks and take a lot of firearms off the streets.
“Since this operation started in April 2012, 26 firearms have been removed from criminals by the Gulf team through targeting organised crime. This is in addition to the work completed by the neighbourhood teams on the division.”
He called for the public’s help and reassured them the police would maintain their efforts on protecting the local community from these crimes. He concluded:
“This is not a fight that we can do alone and community intelligence always plays a large part in these investigations. We will never be complacent in our fight to get firearms off the streets of Salford.”
Here is the full list of total reported gun crimes in Manchester, ranked by area:
- Salford ~ 35
- South Manchester ~ 22
- Oldham ~ 9
- Tameside ~ 6
- Wigan ~ 6
- Trafford ~ 4
- Stockport ~ 3
- Bolton ~ 2
- Bury ~ 2
- Rochdale ~ 1
- Unidentified ~ 1
It is illegal to possess or use guns in the UK, unless you have obtained a licence through the firearm certificate or shotgun certificate. The process for application is complex and renewal is required every five years.
This illustrates the scale of the problem suffered by the local community and authority in Salford.
It is hoped that a combination of education and law enforcement will continue to make the UK one of the safest places to live in the world.